Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

McLeod, Kembrew

First Committee Member

Havens, Timothy

Second Committee Member

Hayes, Joy

Third Committee Member

Creekmur, Corey

Fourth Committee Member

Kang, Jiyeon


Manga, or Japanese comic books, are one of the newest popular media imports from Japan to garner a sizable following in the U.S. Shortly before the establishment of an American manga publishing industry and the investment in resources to publish manga legally, fans calling themselves scanslators or scanlators (scan + translators) began translating Japanese manga themselves and distributing it to other fans through the Internet. This dissertation focuses on the manga importation process from several different angles, comparing within each the struggles and similarities between the actions and motives of scanslators and publishers. Comparing and contrasting the practices and norms of scanslators with those of the American manga publishing industry, this case study will provide insight into the ways that fans of transnational texts are involved in a system of global media flows whose paths are determined by legal, cultural, economic, and political forces.

This work focuses on three stages in the manga importation process: selection, translation, and distribution. This study is based on the textual analysis of trade journal articles and web sites, informed by interviews with scanslators and manga industry workers. I conducted interviews over a six-month period in 2008, focusing on two groups, the publishing company Tokyopop and the scanslation group "Paradise." I carried out follow-up interviews a year later. I supplemented these interviews with interviews from freelance manga translators. I demonstrate principles influencing the flow of other kinds of media across borders. Manga serves as a prime example of the rise and transformation of a genre in the book market, and more broadly as a form of media. This case also serves as a snapshot of a moment of change within the publishing industries as they move towards increased digitization.


comics, fans, graphic novels, Japan, manga, publishing


iv, 177 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 166-177).


Copyright 2012 Kristin Anderson Terpstra

Included in

Communication Commons